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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lon - The Raceway Closed For Training Wednesday Morning

London, January 31, 2012 -- Horsemen in London are advised that The Raceway at The Western Fair District will be closed for training on Wednesday morning.

The track will be open again for training on Friday morning.

Live racing is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon with a first post of 4:05 p.m.

M1 - Meadowlands Pick 5 Pool Guarantee Starts Friday; Reminder: Noms Close Feb. 1 For New Rags To Riches Series

Meadowlands Pick 5 Pool Guarantee Starts Friday

Starting Friday, February 3, the Meadowlands Pick 5 will have a $20,000 guaranteed pool on all racing nights. 

A 50-cent base wager, the Pick 5 starts in Race 1.  

On Saturday, January 28, the Meadowlands Pick 5 handled a record $96,962 helped largely by a $16,400 carryover heading into the card.  The average 50-cent payout has been $1,717 so far in 2012 and there have been two carryovers through the first 11 race cards.

 Reminder: Noms Close Feb. 1 For Rags To Riches Series

The new Rags To Riches series for claiming horses will kick off Thursday, February 16 at the Meadowlands. 
    The conditions call for three-year-olds and up who have started for a base claiming price of $10,000 or less once in their last four starts up to and including January 20, 2012.  A nomination fee of $550 for the Rags To Riches is due by Wednesday, February 1.  There is a $550 entry fee for the first leg only. 
The series will be raced in a bracket format, with the top finishers from the first leg moving on to the next leg and the top 10 reaching the $100,000 estimated final on Saturday, March 10.  Purses for the three scheduled legs are $10,000, $12,500 and $15,000.  There is no claiming during the series.   

“The Rags To Riches enables the small-time owner to participate at a major level with a big purse up for grabs in the series final,” noted Meadowlands Racing Secretary Peter Koch. 

Click here for an application


 Quietly Sand E Fiftyfive has been winning races and with her triumph yesterday(Jan.30)at Monticello Raceway  it marked the mare’s seventh victory  in a row.  Racing for a tag of $6000 the I Am A Fool 6-year-old was driven to victory by Billy Dobson.

Sand E Fiftyfive was a comfortable length winner for Dobson at the wire at the finish (Geri Schwarz Photo)
Her consecutive string began  on November 28th  and all her victories were by open lengths except her 2:00 clocking on  January 6 where Sand E Fiftyfive  came from behind a eeked-out a nose victory.

“She’s been a nice mare her whole life winning over $224,000 and taking a 1:55 mark at The Meadows as a 2 year old, “ noted trainer Billy Kapinos. “ Her 1:56:3 win here  in late November was her fastest   of her seven wins last year.”

Owned by Barry Charles of New Rochelle, NY , Sand E Fiftyfive defeated McDonna (Stephane Bouchard) by a length in a time of 1:58.4 on the Monday card. She paid $4.30 for win.

For Dobson, who was the meets leading driver here last winter  before moving his base of operation to Saratoga Raceway, is again challenging for leadership in races won,. His victory with Sand E Fiftyfive was one of three winners on the card for the man in blue, gray, and white colors. He also scored with The Filly Princess (1:59.3) in the fourth race and with Nice Big Star (1:58.4) in the seventh.

An oddity nearly occurred in the 12th race on the Monday, January 30th program when a father and his son nearly finished in a dead-heat separated by only head at the finish.

Only a head  separated Jimmy Marohn Sr.  with All Natural (#5) and Jimmy Jr. with Community Spirit (#1) at the wire. (Geri Schwarz Photo)
Jimmy Marohn (Sr.) was cutting the fractions with  All Natural  while Jimmy Jr.  drafted along in second place  with Community Spirit. At the top of the lane  Marohn the younger took aim at Marohn the elder and their two horses rushed to the finish heads a part with Jimmy Jr. prevailing with Community Spirit in a 1:59.2 clocking.
“Hey, we’re all out there trying to win and no matter who we race against victory is number one,” Jimmy Marohn, Jr. related after his winning drive. Dad and I finished  first and second quite few times (in the past) and if he’s in the way I’ll try to beat him every time. It’s certainly not personal, it’s just  business.”

Said Marohn, Sr after the race “ If I have to get beat at the wire there’s no one I’d rather have beat me than Jimmy Jr. But I sure was trying to beat him today only his horse was a little stronger than mine at the finish.”

Owned by Edward Hall of Lebanon Ct., Community Spirit was sent off as the 1-2 favorite and paid $3.00 for win. She’s trained by Daniel Gill.

Lon - $4,680 Pick-5 Carryover at The Raceway

London, Tuesday, January 31, 2011 -- The Tuesday race program at The Raceway at The Western Fair District will offer a large carryover of $4,680.00 into the pick-5 pool, which starts in race three.

Horse players were unable to solve the pick-5 riddle on Monday afternoon when a series of double-digit longshots prevailed in the final three legs of the wager.

The pick-5 is a 15% total takeout wager which offers a carryover if no one correctly selects five of five winners. It is one of two 15% takeout wagers at The Raceway, the other is the pick-4 which features a $4,000 guaranteed pool each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.

The pick-4 pools have been picking up steam and Monday’s was just shy of $7,000.

First post for the Tuesday card is 4:05 p.m. with the pre-game show beginning at 4:05 p.m. Full-card coverage will also be available on HPItv.

Fans can download their free race programs from track’s website at

Ppk5/8 - Blanket Finish in Mares Open

The final Mares Open Handicap Pace feature of January ended in a blanket finish with Special Sweetheart overlooked to the tune of 5-1 and digging deep to score a narrow decision in a cavalry charge to the wire.

George Napolitano Jr. put the 6 year old daughter of Western Ideal-Ladys Special Girl on the point early and she was forced to deal with a strong first over move down the backstretch by Ed Hensley's Keep On Flirtin. In the stretch, Nillabomb angled out from the second over trip for Wally Hennessey to barely miss at the final buzzer in 1:53.2. Billie Blue Chip was also closing hard late in rein to Joe Pavia Jr. in her 2012 debut, and the pocket sitting Runaway Tray driven by Anthony Napolitano was blocked and had to settle for fourth. Special Sweetheart, trained by Peter Pellegrino for 4 For 3 Stable of Bronxville, NY, is now a 25 time career winner of $834,469.

Post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday at The Winter Capital Of Harness Racing. Free race night live streaming, handicapping selections by Hall of Fame inductee John Berry, and replays are in the 'racing' tab at along with the racing schedule through July of 2012 for The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. 

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Ppk5/8 - McNeil's Run Reaches Six Straight in Florida

Will there ever be a live race program this season at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano when trainer John McNeil III doesn't win at least one race? You might be well advised to stay tuned for the Tuesday, January 31 and Wednesday, February 1 cards at The Winter Capital Of Harness Racing to find out.

At this stage, you'd have to go all the way back to January 18 when the McNeill trained mare MC Tbone IDA was a strong second to find a Pompano card when there wasn't at least one winner sent out by the track's youngest conditioner in the 2011-2012 meet.

Looney Dune (2-Anthony Napolitano) got out from the pocket to catch Cruisin In Pink (5-Rick Plano) and hold off Gracie Gracie (6-Justin Mahar) in the 1st race on Monday, January 30 at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park. That makes it six straight Pompano programs for trainer John McNeil III to send out at least one winner. (Skip Smith Photo)
The remarkable run for the 24 year old trainer hailing from Vernon Center, NY in his first winter at Pompano continued on the Monday evening, January 30 card in the first race. In the Mares Open II Pace for an $8,500 purse, Anthony Napolitano worked out a pocket trip for Looney Dune and she responded with a life's record performance in 1:52.4. The four year old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Sandscreen is owned by Ellen McNeil of Vernon Center, NY and it was the mare's first win of 2012 from four starts.

McNeil would also win with his other starter on the Monday, January 30 program as MC Thunderstruck was kept back of an opening half battle in 57 seconds by driver Bruce Ranger to sweep up for a life's mark of 1:56.2 in a $4,000 purse conditioned trot. Breeder Ellen McNeil has retained ownership of the 5 year old Conway Hall-Lala Land Lindy gelding.

On Tuesday evening, January 31 at the South Florida plant, McNeil's chances to continue his great streak are focused on a single starter as claiming pace mare Cajun Pearl sets about the task of trying to overcome post seven draw luck in the 12th race finale. Should that one prevail, McNeil's starters on Wednesday, February 1 are claiming pace mare MC Tbone Ida in the 5th and conditioned trotting mare Salome Marvel in the 10th race.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

CalX1 - Marlin Hanover Hooks His Foes Again At Cal Expo

Sunday, January 29, 2012 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity – Cal Expo

Winners-Over pacers, racing for a purse of $4,500, were featured at Cal Expo on Saturday night (January 28), on which Marlin Hanover was a measured winner.

Prior to starting from his assigned post-five in the field of the same number, driver Luke Plano let the formbook play into his strategy.

"I thought there would be a chance that there would be a speedy first-quarter," said Plano.  "So I was definitely thinking about racing him from the back early and letting things settle down.  My horse is in good shape and I thought my chances were good depending upon how things shook out early."

Coming away last, but while Amigo De Garcia (Steve Wiseman), One And Only (Jim Lackey) and Haggin Oaks (James Kennedy) bickered across the track for over an eighth of a mile, Plano certainly wasn't upset.

"It looked like they were fighting more than they were going fast, but the mixing up couldn't hurt me, it could only help me just because I thought I had a better chance of getting in the race."

With Haggin Oaks not making the lead until just to the quarter, timed in :29, this also worked out for Plano.

"The :29 wasn't fast for Haggin Oaks, but it was a testy lead and as a result I figured James was looking for a breather.  As soon as he cleared he slowed down  - -  and that's when I opted to move to the front."

On the move to the 5-16ths mile marker and moving quickly, Plano had to deal with a not so friendly Haggin Oaks.

"They were stretching me a little more than I expected, but I figured my horse could handle the move, and as it turns out I don't think the stretching to the lead hurt him too much."

Not clearing to the point until a decent ways past the half-mile juncture, timed in :58.1, the five year-old paced what appeared to be an effortless :28.1 third-quarter split while reaching the three-quarter mile station, timed in 1:26.2.

"He was fairly aggressive once he cleared to the front, plus I had him in gear when we cleared, but it didn't concern me because he was comfortable doing it.  I had plenty of pace at the three-quarters and I thought I was in good shape, however, I wasn't sure what the guys behind me had, including Haggin Oaks who is usually real good off the trip she was getting - - so I still knew it wasn't over."

Asking his charge to the head of the lane and now in full gear, the gelding led by about two-lengths when Haggin Oaks was out for the drive in the upper-stretch.

"When Haggin Oaks pulled I thought my horse kind of paced away as Haggin Oaks didn't really give me the pressure I expected.  But I did hear other horses coming and I still didn't know whether I was home yet."

Under urging with a sixteenth of a mile to go while Amigo De Garcia was closing on the outside with One And Only closing up the inside, was Plano concerned?

"They were both getting closer and closer it seemed late, but my horse was still pacing strong and I thought he was going to hold and as it turned out, he did."

Owned by Richard Morita & David Yamada, the Liberio Pacheco trained pacer won ($8.80) by three-quarters of one-length, in 1:54.1, a seasonal best.  Amigo De Garcia finished in second, and One And Only finished just a neck farther back, in third.

"I thought the horse raced well as he normally does.  He continues to be in great shape," finished Plano, who had five winners, giving him 13 victories over the last two Saturday programs.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (February 3) & Saturday (February 4) at 6:00 p.m. (PST).  On Friday and every live card, Cal Expo offers free admission, as well as free preferred & general parking after 4:30 p.m.  Also on Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer, Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while a Burger with fries is offered at $5.

Cal Expo continues to offer a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee).  In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool.  On Saturday nights, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 28, 2012 -- Foreign Officer (Jordan Stratton) was on his game Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $33,000 Open Handicap Pace.

Foreign Officer holding off Electrofire in Saturday Night's Open Handicap (Skip Smith Photo)
Leaving from post position No. 5 as the 7-5 favorite, Foreign Officer paid the price to get around Electrofire (Pat Lachance) after a :27.3 opening quarter-mile.

He then found a 55.3 half, all the while contending with a parked-out Gallant Yankee (Brent Holland). Sea Venture (George Brennan) looked to move wide around that one as Foreign Officer moved past a 1:24.3 three-quarters.

The leader was a length-and-a-half to the good turning for home, needing only to hold off the challenger on his back. Foreign Officer did, beating Electrofire by three-quarters of a length in 1:53.2. A from-last Tobago Cays (Jeff Gregory), Here We Go Again (Jason Bartlett) and Grab Your Keys (Larry Stalbaum) grabbed the remainder.

For Foreign Officer, a 5-year-old Western Ideal gelding co-owned by David Rovine, Melvin Hartman, J L Benson Stables and Foreign Officer Partners and trained by Tony Alagna, he returned $4.90 for his first win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $26.40, with the triple returning $261.  

Also, Saturday night props go to Rock to Glory (Brennan, $2.40), who won the $27,000 Preferred Handicap Pace in 1:51.3. That was the fastest local mile of the season to date and matched the track record for 4-year-old geldings.

Yonkers' five-night-per-week (Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday) live schedule continues. First post for all programs remains at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.

M1 - Golden Receiver Takes Presidential Final At Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ [January 28, 2012] - Golden Receiver led the field at every call and gamely hung on by a neck to capture the $110,500 Presidential final on a blustery Saturday night at the Meadowlands Racetrack. 

Never headed in the three Presidential rounds, Golden Receiver held off late charges by Annieswesterncard and Blatantly Good to complete the series sweep in 1:49.1.  The 7-year-old son of Village Jove, driven by Brian Sears, paid $3 to win the tenth race headliner.

“No question, that’s a really good mile out there tonight,” Sears said.  “He was in hand in the prelims.  I knew we were going to have to be really aggressive [tonight]; that’s just the style that he races.  The wind was a little tough out there tonight and he raced game.  It was a great effort and I’m just glad to have gotten it done.”

Golden Receiver, trained by Mark Harder, posted his 40th win in his 100th career start and increased his bankroll to $763,983.  Nina Simmonds of Binghamton, NY bred and co-owns the gelding with Stephen Springer, Richard Taylor and Stable 45 [Marcia Gingold and Eugene Kurzok]. 

Favorites also prevailed in the Complex and Clyde Hirt finals.  Itrustyou, one of six winners for driver Yannick Gingras, extended his streak to 10 races in the $74,000 Complex.  One of four entrants trained by Ron Burke, Itrustyou equaled his 1:50 lifetime mark.  Special T Rocks came first up and drew off to by two lengths to win the $73,000 Clyde Hirt Stake in 1:51 for driver, trainer and co-owner Daryl Bier and partners Forrest Bartlett and Joann Dombeck.

Ppk5/8 - Eleven Year Old Takes A Big Mark

It isn't very often that a horse in the second decade of life will earn a career best speed mark but the veteran pacer Armbro Billow accomplished just that on the final Saturday night of January at The Winter Capital Of Harness Racing.

In a $6,100 purse conditioned test, Armbro Billow was kept well back of the unsustainable pace made Big Bam Ray in rein to Richie Simard as the fastest opening half of the meet thus far flashed up 53.1. Going into the final turn in 1:21.3 Joe Pavia Jr. had Armbro Billow out wide in the advancing flow and brushing home the best in 1:50.4 over Flexjet partnered by Wally Hennessey and Night Train Shane driven by Anthony Napolitano.

It was the 69th career victory for Armbro Billow. The 11 year old Rustler Hanover-Armbro Breeze gelding has been trained to a career bankroll of more than $518,000 by Mike Watson for Streetwise Stable of Canton, MI.

Post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday at The Winter Capital Of Harness Racing. Free race night live streaming, handicapping selections by Hall of Fame inductee John Berry, and replays are in the 'racing' tab at along with the racing schedule through July of 2012 for The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park

Ppk5/8 - McNeil's Streak Now Five Straight at Pompano

The youngest trainer on the Pompano backstretch for the 2011-2012 meet has amassed a win streak that can vault him into his best career year - and it's showing no signs of slowing down into the coming week.

 24 year old conditioner John McNeil III of Vernon Center, NY harnessed up a winner in a fifth straight program at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park on Saturday evening, January 28. With their only starter of the night, the McNeil connections counted victory again as Kommander Hawk dominated his Open Pace rivals to score in a life's mark clocking of 1:51.

Kommander Hawk (5-Fern Paquet Jr. driving) paced home in a life's mark of 1:51 on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at The Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park in the $12,000 purse Open Pace. It was the 5th straight Pompano program for 24 year old trainer John McNeil III to harness up at least one winner. (Skip Smith Photo)

 With Fern Paquet Jr. in the bike, Kommander Hawk was guided through early fractional times of  27.4, 56.1, and after race favorite Pacinello made a break near the half the Pro Bono Best-Spinner's Hawk six year old gelding sprinted the backstretch to the final turn in 1:23.2. The pocket sitting Deep Finesse driven by George Napolitano Jr. and late closing Red Star Paylater in rein to Dan Clements could not reach Kommander Hawk as he stepped to his third straight win in South Florida for the ownership of Ellen McNeil of Vernon Center, NY.

The young trainer will be seeking to harness up a winner on a sixth straight program on Monday evening, January 30, as he sends out Looney Dune in Mares Open Pace II in the opening race and conditioned trotter MC Thunderstruck in the 10th race. His top career year was 2011 with over $111,000 in training purses amassed at Vernon Downs, Saratoga Harness and Pompano and already his starters have earned over $30,000 in January of 2012 in South Florida.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Moh7/8, M1, Tgdn5/8, Dela - Miss Versatility Series Enriched for 2012

In its short history, the Miss Versatility series has become a highlight on the annual schedule for trotting mares and the 2012 edition will be bigger and richer. The purses for the series legs have been raised from $25,000 to $40,000 ($30,000 div) and the number of legs has been increased from three to four.

For the first time, the Woodbine Entertainment Group will be a participant and will host the first two legs at Mohawk on Sunday, May 20 and Sunday, July 1. The Meadowlands will present leg #3 on Friday, August 17 with Tioga Downs the stage for the fourth leg on Sunday, August 26. The $100,000E final will again be raced on Jug Day (Thursday, September 20) at the Delaware County fairgrounds.

The connections of those mares racing in the final will once again be entitled to complimentary tickets for the tent festivities courtesy of the Little Brown Jug Society.

Complete nomination information and forms are available at the Tioga Downs website.

CalX1 - Putoneonnetformom Repeats In Solid Fashion At Cal Expo

Saturday, January 27, 2012 - by Scott Ehrlich, Publicity – Cal Expo

A mixture of conditioned and claiming trotters, racing for a $4,000 purse, were featured at Cal Expo on Friday night, on which Putoneonnetformom won for the 20th time in his career.

In advance of starting from post-four, driver James Kennedy called an audible.

"The plan was to leave and go to the front," stated Kennedy.  "But I changed my plans when I saw the track surface because it seemed a little deep and I didn't think it would be front-end friendly - - but I still thought my chances were fairly good."

Leaving off the wings, but taking back just past the start, Kennedy had a crafty reason.

"I left a little bit, but that was to make the others think I was so they would go for their position - - and that's why I quickly took back."

Coming away in fourth position, Kennedy was pleased at the quarter-mile pole.

The :29.2 fraction for the first-quarter was very good for me, plus I hadn't used my horse."

Remaining content in the cleanup spot with no second-quarter pace, Kennedy wasn't concerned.

"I know Meringue (Luke Plano), who was on the lead, and once he's fired up he's kind of hard to settle down.  So I figured if I sat and waited until at least the half that I could probably run him down."

On the move without cover to the 9-16ths mile station and moving decently with three-eighths of a mile to go, the eight year-old took a parked out lead to the three-quarter mile marker, timed in 1:29.2.

"I was sitting pretty happy at that point because I was just getting him geared up and hadn't pulled the earplugs yet.  Once I popped them as soon as I cleared Meringue's feet, my horse took off like a bat out of you know what."

Drawing clear at the head of the lane and opening up by 2-3/4 lengths to the seven-eighths mile pole while under wheel-disc urging, there'd be no catching the gelding.

"He was very responsive to my urging and raced well of a basically no-use trip."

Bred & owned by Jeff, Gerald & Diana Cimini, the Rocky Stidham trained trotter won ($3.80) by 2-3/4 lengths, in 1:57.4.  Giles L S Hanover (Steve Wiseman) finished in second, and Carpathian Hooray (Jim Lackey) finished another 1-1/2 lengths farther back, in third.

"I thought he raced better tonight than he has in a while," finished Kennedy, who had five winners on the 15-race program.

Live racing continues at Cal Expo on Saturday (January 28) at 6:00 p.m. (PST).   On Saturday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer; Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while Hotdogs, Fries & Sodas are offered at $2 apiece.

Cal Expo now offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee).  In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool.  On Saturday night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 (mandatory payoff) tickets made at Cal Expo or at


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, January 27, 2012 -- Ocean's Motion (Jordan Stratton) busted it wide open Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's co-featured $33,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace.

Ocean's Motion (Jordan Stratton) - Mike Lizzi Photo
Assigned post position No.2, she was away fourth as Delightful Diva (Pat Berry) took over from 2-1 choice Bling (George Brennan) right at the :27.1 opening quarter-mile.

Before a :57.1 half, Ocean's Motion vacated the cones, going after a "Diva" who offered minimal resistance. Ocean's Motion scampered to an open lead before the 1:25 three-quarters, taking a seven-length advantage into the lane.

She obviously had more than enough margin to play with, prevailing by three lengths in 1:55.1. Arctic Fire N (James Rattray) closed for second in a successful North American debut, with a trapped-in Bling, Pancleefandarpels (Eric Goodell) and Breakheart Pass (Jason Bartlett) completing the cashers. 

For Ocean's Motion, a 5-year-old daughter of Camotion owned by Robert Lovett and trained by Chuck Connor Jr., she returned $11.60 (fourth choice) for her first win in a pair of seasonal starts. The exacta paid $125.50, with the triple returning $334.50. 

Friday night's co-featured $33,000 Open Trot saw Son of Nordic (Goodell) finish what he started.

Son of Nordic (Eric Goodell) - Mike Lizzi Photo
In play at the outset from post No. 7, Son of Nordic worked around IPO Blue Chip (Brent Holland), grabbing the lead right around a 28-second opening quarter-mile. From there, he found a :58.1 intermission as Four Starz Credit (Brennan) came for a visit.

Son of Nordic, though, had some separation from the stopping pocket-sitter and first-over pursuer in and out of the 1:26.2 three-quarters. He owned a 2 1/2-length lead turning for home, then won by a comfy length-and-a-half in 1:56.3.  A locally-debuting Equity (Bartlett)--as the 8-5 favorite--rallied for second, with Four Starz Credit, Definitely Mamie (Larry Stalbaum) and Play Fair (Pat Lachance) grabbing the remainder.   

For Son of Nordic, a 7-year-old Keystone Nordic gelding trained by Doug Noland for Lrl Racing, he returned $13 (third choice) for his first win in two '12 tries. The exacta paid $50.50, the triple returned $220 and the superfecta paid $593.

Yonkers' five-night-per-week (Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday) live schedule continues. First post for all programs remains at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.

Lon - Dave Wall Back In The Winner's Circle

London, Friday, January 27 -- Veteran reinsman Dave Wall was back in the winner’s circle on Friday night at The Raceway in London.

Wall was sidelined with two broken ankles following a serious racing accident last April at the London oval. On Friday, he was making just his third appearance back in the race bike since that time and guided Kesons Angelina to a pocket-trip victory in the night’s first race.

Kesons Angelina and driver Dave Wall (Iron Horse Photo) 

Kesons Angelina upset the favoured Gwinning Gwen in a time of 2:02 while returning $12.10  to win.

Wall, who began his career in the Forest City, is a member of the London Sports Hall Of Fame and has also been on the ballot for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame.

Lifetime, Wall has steered home more than 7,100 winners with $60 million in purse winnings to his credit.

Friday, January 27, 2012


During the month of February there will be a few minor changes in the Monticello Raceway’s live racing schedule.

Although racing will continue on a Monday ,Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday basis  throughout the month  there will be an added live program on Friday, February 3rd  and there will be no live racing on Monday, February 20th .
Post times for all live programs will continue to be at 12:25pm. In all, there will be 17 racing cards during February.

Simulcast wagering on thoroughbreds—as well as some other harness tracks—will be available during the afternoons while the evenings will largely be devoted to harness simulcasts.  


The Dominic Macedonio Pacing Series culminated on Thursday afternoon, January 26 at Monticello Raceway with a $6400 Final for the horses and geldings and a $5600 Final for the fillies and mares. Mike Forte guided Imposter A to a 1:58.3 victory in the horse’s finale while Stephane Bouchard hustled  Jessalilmixup to a 2:00.4 triumph in the mares final.

But the series turned out to be a showcase for the Australian-bred Imposter A. The 9 year old altered son of Fake Left won all three of his preliminary legs and kept his seasonal win- streak alive when Mike Forte used a first-over trip to wear down the leaders and hold off a late rally by the veteran Doug’s Boy and driver Alan Schwartz to score a length triumph.  Scoot For Glory was third for Jason Bartlett.

“My horse likes to be on the front-end but Jason (Bartlett with Scoot For Glory) grabbed the lead so quickly that I had no choice other than to take a seat,” Forte related. “Luckily Jason set quick fractions  which  I knew would help us since I figured my horse would finish strong; which he did. But it wasn’t until the final 100 yards that Jason’s horse let go and when he did we swept to victory.”

Elisha Lafreniere trains the winner for C & F Asssociates from Hillsdale, NJ. Imposter A paid $3.10 for win.

The fillies and mares finale proved to be a boon for owner- trainer, Eric Taddeo, when his two- horse entry of Jessalilmixup and Admiral’s Chance finished first and second in the event and he took home three-quarters of the $5600 purse.

Taddeo, a  NYC Fireman  and an avid amateur driver, handed the lines to veterans Stephane Bouchard and Kyle  DiBenedetto and  was content to play the owners role.

DiBenedetto, with Admiral’s Chance, took command from Bouchard and Jessalilmixup before the quarter mile timer flashed :29.1. Taddeo’s tandem then raced one-two around the track and in the stretch Jessalilmixup, an 8 year old daughter of Little Steven, rallied up the inside to nail Admiral Chance by a neck. Third place went to Space Chalet who was in rein to Alan Schwartz.

The Taddeo stable entry paid $3.80 for win.

The Macedonio Series Consolation went to Major League and driver Jimmy Devaux. The Pacific Fella 8- year-old gelding  is owned by Rosemarie Moore and trained by her husband Paul Moore. The pacer returned a $15.00  mutuel payoff.

VD7/8 - Vernon Downs Hosts Deployment Dinner

Vernon Downs Casino was honored to host a special dinner on Thursday, January 26, for soldiers deploying to Kuwait. Jeffrey Gural Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment (which operates Vernon Downs Casino and Racetrack) provided a Casino Classic Buffet dinner for 200 including members from the Company and their families. Many of the guests also enjoyed an overnight stay at the casino, with 92 hotel rooms compliments of Vernon Downs.

According to Mr. Gural,  “I believe our soldiers have done an unbelievable job in keeping our country safe after 911 and we are happy to host this event in appreciation of the sacrifice these men and women are continuing to make for all of us.”

During their time in Kuwait, the Company will be performing a security force mission, rather than a combat mission. They will proudly be supporting a variety of security missions at various locations within Kuwait. While deployed, the Company will have a unique opportunity to train in Kuwait, and will participate with other Active, Guard, and International units to perform demanding training at every available opportunity. Prior to deployment, the soldiers will spend a short period of time in Mississippi training on additional tasks and equipment. They expect to be away from home for approximately one year.

Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel is open year-round with video gaming machines, simulcast horse racing, a live harness racing season, restaurants, a sports bar and special entertainment events. The property employs 300 people, offers an all-suites hotel and a newly expanded Events Center, including state of the art Simulcast Room and new casually themed Mr. G’s Food and Spirits restaurant.

CalX1 - Marlin Hanover Sets Sights On Another Score At Cal Expo

Marlin Hanover, who gave Luke Plano one of his eight driving victories a week ago; and stable-mate One And Only, who came within a neck of posting a 9-1 upset in that affair, gets a rematch in Saturday night’s (January 28) $4,500 Winners-Over Pace at Cal Expo.

Marlin Hanover is a 5-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight and the Big Towner mare Maura Hanover who carries the banner of Richard Morita and David Yamada with Liberio Pacheco the conditioner and Plano returning in the sulky.

In last week’s top dance for the pacers, the bay performer brushed to command past the quarter, moderated the fractions to the stretch and then had enough left to hold safe over the pocket-sitting One And Only by a neck in a 1:54.3 performance.  It was the first win in three appearances on the season for Marlin Hanover, who sports a 1:54 flat career standard from last year.

One And Only has fired nothing but bullets in his three trips to the post in 2012, coming away with a win and two runner-up finishes.  Another son of Bettor’s Delight, he also competes for the team of Morita and Yamada and trainer Pacheco with Jim Lackey once again doing the honors.

One And Only took the measure of a softer group on January 7, drawing away by two lengths that evening without being asked for his best.  He was second to Cycle Power at this level the following week, then came a :26.4 final quarter to just miss to his barn-mate in another strong mile at most recent asking.  e won eight of 28 tries last season while establishing his 1:54.2 lifetime mark.  Taking on this pair are Cycle Power, Haggin Oaks and Amigo De Garcia.

Live racing resumes at Cal Expo on Friday (January 27) & Saturday (January 28) at 6:00 p.m. (PST).  On every live card, Cal Expo offers free parking & free admission after 4:30 p.m.   On Friday, Cal Expo offers Happy Hour from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on which Beer; Well Drinks & Wine are offered at $4 each, while a Burger with fries is offered at $5.  Saturday night’s simulcast action includes three stakes finals from the Meadowlands, headed by the $110,500 Presidential with Golden Receiver getting the top billing.  The Presidential shares the marquee with the $74,000 Complex and $73,000 Clyde Hirt finals.

Cal Expo now offers a reduced 15 percent takeout rate on all Pick 4’s (Thursday/Friday nights in partnership with the USTA Strategic Wagering Committee).  In addition, all Late Pick 4’s will come with a $10,000-guaranteed pool.  On Saturday night, there will be a 0% takeout on successful Late Pick 4 tickets made at Cal Expo or at

CalX1 - A Warning That Your Mileage May Vary At Cal Expo

Friday, January 27, 2012 - by Mark Ratzky, Publicity -- Cal Expo

Winter is in full swing, which means any number of possible track conditions can exist on a given night here in Sacramento at Cal Expo.

Haystacks Calhoun from atop Cal Expo in the announcer's booth.
In addition to his duties as announcer, publicity and simulcasting (exports), Scott Ehrlich is also in charge of the Variant Department at Cal Expo.  Each night’s program features his variants and average fractional times for the previous three weeks, giving handicappers an additional tool in their attempt to isolate a winner.

“It was around 1980 that I came up with my method of variants,” Scott explained.  “I eliminate the fastest two miles of the night and the two slowest miles of the night.  Then I take the remaining final times and divide them by the number of races I’m using.  That becomes the variant for the night.  I will eliminate the trot races unless the final time is better than the average.  The same method applies to the fractional times as well.”

Ehrlich realizes that there are handicappers that do variants for each class versus for the night, but points out after following the sport for 35 years, “you get a very good feel for how fast a specific class should be and recognize when the pace and final time for a race are faster than that class would normally go.

“I use the variants all the time,” Scott continued.  “Generally, I will adjust each horse’s time for the last three races, then see who has the fastest adjusted time, as well as who has the best average time, once adjusted.  It probably comes in most handy in cold weather, especially like when I was in Chicago, where it can be 10 degrees and windy one night and 30 degrees with no wind the next.  The variants for those nights could differ as much as two, three, or more seconds.”  Staying closer to home, Ehrlich pointed out to the difference between the January 20 and January 21 programs here at Cal Expo.

"The variant for Friday, January 20 was slow by four and three-fifths seconds, while on Saturday, January 21, it was fast by one and three-fifths seconds.  So a horse that raced on January 20 in 2:00, their time, once adjusted, becomes an adjusted time of 1:55 2/5."

“Now let’s say that one faces a horse that raced on January 21, who also had a final time of 2:00.  If you use the adjusted the time for that horse, it now becomes 2:01.3.  So, on paper, the same time.  Adjust their times though and there's a six and one-fifth second difference, which is thirty-one lengths.  Getting two variants that BIG in difference is a handicappers dream!  This is one of the ways you can get value when you wager."

M1 - Philly Police Officer Scores Super Bowl Touchdown At Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ [January 26, 2012] – Balancing a badge with barn duty paid off handsomely for Philadelphia police officer Owen Eiler Jr. on Thursday night as he scored his first Meadowlands stakes win with Dontevenknowmymame in the $58,500 Super Bowl final. 

Dontevenknowmymame came first up to clear the lead past the three-quarter marker and gamely dug in for a 1 1/4-length victory over My Man in 1:57.  All Munky Business was third.  Dontevenknowmymame, driven to victory by Eric Abbatiello, paid $9.80 to win the sixth race feature.

“Coming around the last turn I was worried about Yannick [Gingras] on my back [with My Man],” Abbatiello said, “but she kept trotting to the stretch.  She put in a good effort.  She’s very consistent.  She hasn’t thrown in a clunker since Owen bought her.”

Eiler, who owns and trains the daughter of Master Lavec, purchased Dontevenknowmymame last October.  She has since earned $63,605 toward a career bankroll of $108,861.  Her win column now totals 13 in 44 starts.

“She’s a game mare,” Eiler said.  “She took a lot of air tonight, but she keeps coming.”

Though a longtime horse owner, Eiler only obtained his trainer’s license a little over a year ago upon the urging of his children.  He finished the 2011 season with 14 wins and $173,507 from 126 starters. 

“It’s a lot of hard work,” said the 49-year-old conditioner of juggling two careers.  “I give a lot of credit to Eric and to her two grooms, Anthony and Joanie.” 

Fella’s Ella, a 75-1 shot, picked an opportune time for her first career win in the $38,000 White Ruffles final for 4-year-old pacing mares.

The Pacific Fella lass, steered by Steve Smith, split horses in the lane and got up in the nick of time to take the fifth race co-feature by a head over Devine Filly in 1:55.3.  She paid $157.40 to break her maiden in her eighth start.  John Pyott trains the mare for his brother, Robert, of Millville, NJ.

"I started out in the back and got shuffled,” Smith said.  “Around the last turn, nobody was behind me so I was actually able to save a little bit of ground.  I was able to slip out and just wait for a little bit of room.

“Her lines coming from Monticello didn’t look too impressive, but she stepped right up,” Smith continued.  “She’s a big filly and likes a big track.  She started out very green and has come a long way in just three weeks.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012


After spending the past several years at Pocono Downs last season Jimmy Taggart, Jr. returned to Monticello Raceway, the place where he began his career, and he had a stellar season at the Sullivan County oval. His 285 wins here  ranked him third on the local leaderboard and his seasonal output of 321 driving victories was 118 more than his previous best during 2001. And his purse earnings of $1.59 million was second only to the $1.83 million his horses earned in 2007.

Again this year Taggart is off to a good start having already won 19 times which includes the four-bagger he had on Wednesday, January 25.

Strongbow (#3) and Lucerne De Vie (#5) approach the wire heads apart. (Geri Schwarz Photo)
Taggart waited until late on that card to get in high gear. He won the eight race with trotter Sin To Win in 2:02.1 and then won the 10th with another trotter Mandinga, in 2:03. His victory with Strongbow, a trotter that he won 12 times with during the 2011 campaign, rebuffed a strong late challenge to win by a nose in 2:03.1. Taggart then capped his afternoon by winning the final race on the card with a pacer by the unusual name of Arm And A Leg in 2:00.2.

“I enjoyed a good season last year and  hope to have a similar one  again this year,” said Taggart, a Monticello-native who stepped from the amateur ranks to being a professional  harness driver in 1988.”Hey, I’m off to a pretty good start and with Billy (“Zeke” Parker, Jr.) and Bruce (Aldrich, Jr.) laid up for a while I hope to get more catch-drives; at least early on.”

Taggart was referring to the operations that both Zeke and Bruce have recently undergone which will keep both drivers out of action for a while. Taggart was third best in races won last year behind Aldrich and Parker.